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“Jogye Order Plans to Continue Exchanges with North Korea”
2011-09-08 Updated.
Members of the nation’s largest Buddhist sect that visited North Korea for a religious ceremony say their recent visit has built a foundation for civic and cultural exchanges between the two Koreas.

Jogye Order members that visited North Korea held a news conference on Thursday on the results and meaning of the trip. They said the attendees from both sides of the joint ceremony wished for unification.

The group said it held working-level dialogue with the North on issues, including the translation of Buddhist scriptures into Korean. They decided to devise specific plans to work on the translation and other issues. The team also urged North Korea to open a window for dialogue and to allow a joint Buddhist ceremony on the Korean Independence Day and the joint restoration of Buddhist cultural artifacts.

The group also said that it decided to continue with the tentative agreement reached during its visit in January to build humanitarian support facilities in Pyongyang. It said it would discuss proactive support measures.

The order’s visit was the first time for Seoul to grant permission for anyone to visit North Korea for a religious ceremony since it banned South Korean exchanges with the North from May 24th of last year. The ban followed the North's sinking of the Cheonan naval vessel.

The Jogye Order said it plans to continue with such exchanges.